Indians first baseman/designated hitter Jason Giambi has been diagnosed with a small non-displaced rib fracture on his right side and will be out three to four weeks, the Tribe announced Thursday.
Giambi was hurt when he was hit by an Edwin Jackson pitch in the third inning Friday against the Chicago Cubs in Mesa. Giambi experienced increasing discomfort since and underwent an MRI Wednesday. Manager Terry Francona said the Tribe's initial X-ray didn't show anything. Giambi said he also had an ultrasound.
"What we do is treat the symptoms. He's going to be down for a number of days without activity and just getting treatment," Francona said. "When the symptoms are better, we can start getting him into activities, then we can start getting him into baseball activities."
Giambi had he had an inkling when he was hit that it might be serious. He said it was the first time in his career he's had a rib injury.
"It was cutter in and it kind of got me underneath the pad," Giambi said. "I usually can get my elbow pad down, I just didn't get it down in time. I was at first base going, 'Oh, this doesn't feel....'"
Giambi picked the ball up and flipped it to Jackson.
"I wasn't going to let him know it hurt," Giambi said.
"I think I'm l like 10th all-time getting hit by a pitch and I knew this one was different. I came in the next day and told the trainers, 'This one's sore.' I’ve been hit a gazillion times and I just kind of knew this one was different."
The injury could open the door for players on the bubble like outfielders Nyjer Morgan and Jeff Francoeur and infielder Elliot Johnson to make the 25-man roster going into Opening Day March 31 at Oakland.
Asked what it does to the roster, Francona said, "At the moment, nothing. We're not leaving camp. The good side of this is G is fully engaged in getting better as quick as he can. In the meantime he will help everybody else, as he always does."
While some wondered if Giambi, 43, will make the team this season, Francona seemed willing to wait for him to recover.
"Of making the club?' Francona said, sounding incredulous. "I don't know. We'll see how quickly he progresses. I don't think Opening Day is the end all-be all. We want him to get better so he can help us.
"Sometimes the challenge is not just what G is doing, but also putting a team together. The object is to be better than other teams. He's very special. But he doesn't play a position and doesn't play that all the time, so you have to make sure you compliment that. I think we can do that for sure, but you have to think about that."
Giambi didn't seem worried about the injury hurting his chances of sticking with the Indians for a second season.
"That's going to take care of itself," he said. "I sat and talked to Tito. I haven't talked to Chris (Antonettti) yet. Tito said, ‘Don’t worry about it, just get well.’
"I was taking good at-bats, I was swinging the ball well, everything was great. I don't think that's a worry. I can bring as much off the field with the players as on the field. That's the exciting part of what I've really grown into, that mentor. That helps me."
In other injury news, Morgan is day-to-day with a slight left calf strain suffered Wednesday against the Padres. Morgan stumbled awkwardly leaving the batter's box after a late-game double.
"We need to protect him from himself," Francona said. "He’s kind of on a mission here to if not show us, show the world that he’s back and ready to play. He plays so hard that he’s going to have to pass some tests on the medical side. That’s not to hinder him, that’s to protect him."
Right-hander J.C. Ramirez suffered a fractured left thumb and ligament sprain on a tag play during his 'B' game appearance Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox in Goodyear. Thomas Graham is scheduled to perform the surgery Monday at the Cleveland Clinic. Ramirez is expected to return in eight to 10 weeks.